OXITEMS: RSS for news and events
- Many of us produce bits of information for consumption in various ways. The commonest way to do this is an RSS newsfeed.
- You'll recognize a site with news feeds, as they commonly use one of , and . If you hover over them your browser will tell you the URL of the newsfeed.
- If you click on the icon, you will get the list of items. Sometimes, this is displayed nicely; sometimes it is displayed as a page of markup (in an XML language).
- Examples: http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ and http://news.bbc.co.uk
- There are web sites where you can subscribe to newsfeeds, e.g., Google, Bloglines, Yahoo! An example is: http://www.igoogle.com
- Most web browsers now allow you to establish a bookmark to the URL of a newsfeed.
- Many email clients allow you to get the items of a newsfeed delivered into the email client like ordinary messages.
- You can install a feedreader program, e.g., Awasu, NewsGator, NewzCrawler
- If you know how to create resources in WebLearn, you can create one that is a news feed display.
- If you know how to create web pages, you could provide one that displays the contents of a newsfeed.
- OXITEMS is a system, developed by OUCS, for members of the University to create newsfeeds.
- Each department/college can create newsfeeds, and add items to those newsfeeds.
- These newsfeeds are then available for others to read, e.g., for people to access on their Google home page or web page owners to include in their web pages.
- We sort out the authentication (using WebAuth) and authorisation (using registration database) for you
- We take care of generating the various flavours of RSS, Atom etc, as well as other output formats (eg iCal)
- We can merge many newsfeeds centrally to produce unified lists
- We can link news items advertising events to geolinking data
- The university podcasting channel will only take material from OXITEMS
- Not everyone has the expertise or available servers
- login at; https://rss.oucs.ox.ac.uk/oxonly/oxitems/
- Use the Add an item operation that is given in the menu on the left-hand side of the screen.
- There are newsfeeds (the sandbox newsfeeds) to which anyone at the University can add items. These are areas where you can experiment.
- However, these newsfeeds are not a permanent area for items: the items of these newsfeeds will be removed regularly.
One of the sandbox newsfeeds has the rather strange name:
- If you use the following link, you will see the items displayed on the right-hand side of the page: http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/oxitems/pages/both-sandboxes.html
The following link is a shortcut to add an item:
- You will get a screen with a lot of boxes.
- After you have typed information into some of the boxes, click on preview the item with the above values.
- You will get the preview screen. If it looks OK, click on now add the above item to the newsfeed.
- A new screen appears confirming this has been done.
- Reuse the following link. You should now see your item: http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/oxitems/pages/both-sandboxes.html
- The Bodleian Library uses OXITEMS as a way of presenting news on their home page; you can see it in action by looking at the bottom of the page: http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/
- Besides ordinary newsfeeds, OXITEMS has events newsfeeds that are better at handling events.
- If you add an item to an events newsfeed, OXITEMS will ask you for lots of information about the event.
- Such as the date, time, location, title, ...
- An example of an events newsfeed is shown at: http://www.bioch.ox.ac.uk/aspsite/index.asp?sectionid=seminars
- The iCalendar link enables people to add details of the event to their favourite calendaring program.
- KML files for use with Google Maps or Google Earth
- location data for OXITEMS events newsfeeds
You can see OXPOINTS in action at eg http://www.ox.ac.uk/colleges/map_of_the_colleges_and_halls/index.html
- Each item of a podcasting newsfeed has a link to a media file (such as an MP3 file).
- So you might create a podcasting newsfeed for this term's research seminars.
- In 2008, the the University joined Apple's iTunesU, and we have a major project to disseminate material using podcasting.
- So it is asking each department/college to bundle up media files into one or more OXITEMS newsfeeds.
- If you currently provide news/events by editing web pages, then this system is a lot easier to use as the information is provided by filling in a form.
- It is possible to allocate other people to enter items of news/events.
- Although items expire, they are still retained: so you have a record of what's happening in your department/college.
- By providing a newsfeed, you are allowing people to choose how they get the information.
Please send questions about OXITEMS to:
A two page factsheet describing OXITEMS is available at:
These slides (and others) are available from the Presentations section of